The Movie Waffler Interview - FOUND FOOTAGE 3D & BUNKHEADS Star Chris O'Brien | The Movie Waffler

Interview - FOUND FOOTAGE 3D & BUNKHEADS Star Chris O'Brien

chris o'brien bunkheads
Actor Chris O'Brien on his roles in Amazon series Bunkheads and horror movie Found Footage 3D.

Chris O’Brien, best known for his work in Found Footage 3D, returns to the monster-mash genre – only with his tongue planted firmly in cheek this time – for Bunkheads, a new short form series (currently available on Amazon Prime) about a group of friends playing duck and cover during a zombie apocalypse.

chris o'brien actor interview

How’s it going? Still bunking with those annoying roommates?

I’m by far the most annoying, so it’s going great for me.

In all seriousness, congrats on a fun series!

Thanks so much! It was fun to make, so I’m glad people are having fun watching it.

When did you get involved?

It was a pretty usual casting process, so they were really close to shooting and I auditioned and got brought on! I think it was a month or two before they were scheduled to start shooting!

And could you see why you were cast as Kip?

I am personally not much like Kip at all. We have almost nothing in common whatsoever. But a character like kip should one-billion percent look like me. So in that sense, I definitely see why.

Think you’d behave the same way, if caught up in the same situation?

First of all, I don’t think I would survive long enough to find out. I am probably exactly as weak as I look and I don’t think I could run for more than 60 feet before I’d need a nap, so outrunning zombies who never get tired, never need to rest… I’d be food in a week.

But if I got lucky and found a bunker, I would definitely be a much, much, much better roommate. I’m surprised they don’t lose patience with Kip sooner, to be honest.

Which of the episodes is your favourite?

That’s so hard to say. I think there’s something about the season finale that I really love. Bunkheads is really all about the characters and I think you get to see different sides of them and it's clear how much they’ve grown and how much growing they still have to do, especially someone like Kip.

Do you think the series differs from other zombie comedies – and how?

I think it does. Off the top of my head, I think zombie comedy usually focuses on putting zombies in “normal human” situations. Or gross out humour. Or they’re really action movies with jokes and zombies - kind of like Zombieland. Which are fine, but that’s not really what we’re doing.

We’re probably closer to something like Shaun of the Dead (my absolute favourite zombie themed anything, ever), which creates a lot of its humour with the characters.

Bunkheads is about these four characters and how they have to find a way to live together, or they’ll die alone.

And now I’m accidentally quoting Lost.


You seem to like your horror! You’re also in Found Footage 3D. Tell me about that experience?

That movie is so cool and it’s still one of the most unusual and fun experiences I’ve had as an actor. Shooting a part comedy-part horror found footage movie in 3D, and playing the character behind the camera is really wild.

I’m in almost every scene in the movie, but a lot of the time I’m kind of invisible in a way. So a lot of my acting choices had to do with where to point the camera and how to move it. That meant a lot of collaboration with the director and the DP.

I lived in this weird place between cast in crew for a lot of that. I got to learn a ton of new things because a lot of the time there was just no way to have anyone but me operating the camera.

I think my favorite stuff to work on as an actor is mixed-genre. Horror-comedy is definitely a good one, so I feel lucky that I’ve basically been able to do that a few times now.

Working on a fun, horror film – or series – I imagine the set is kept pretty jovial?

For sure! I haven’t really worked on any projects that weren’t a fun time with a lot of great people, but everyone on both Found Footage 3D and Bulkheads got along ridiculously well.

There were too many inside jokes behind the scenes to name (and most of them probably wouldn’t make much sense now, out of context), but it wasn’t just messing with each other. On Bunkheads some of us also had auditions come up while we were filming, so we’d help each other rehearse and record them. It was really cool and everyone was amazing and supportive.

I mean, it’s work too, and that’s something you have to balance on any project. Making a movie can be really demanding and stressful and everyone has an important job to do on a set. There’s time to have fun and there’s time to focus and hit your marks and nail your lines and all of that. 

Still, I really believe goofing around, especially among the actors, is important for building chemistry, and that translates to the performances on camera. And at the end of the day, you’re making movies and that’s really fun! I personally pride myself on having fun while also doing my job well.

Is horror something you’ve always gravitated towards?

I wasn’t necessarily when I first started acting, but the more I do it, the more I love doing it. And horror fans are amazing - they’re some of the most passionate movie fans and the love they have for these movies is just infectious. And people really underestimate the influence the genre has had on movies in general. You can’t watch huge blockbusters like first two Terminator movies, or Jurassic Park, or even that last hallway scene in Rogue One and tell me that these aren’t horror movies at their hearts. Horror has launched whole new film languages in subgenres like found footage. So I can’t imagine being an actor and not being drawn to that.

More generally as an actor, I’m usually not too picky, I just love acting. But I really like to work on unusual projects. I think Bunkheads is pretty different. I don’t think I’ve really seen the zombie-horror-comedy series done like a single-camera comedy before. I think I’m definitely drawn to comedy in general and I love off beat stuff and comedy crossed over with genre.

Is there something you want to try but haven’t?

I haven’t had the chance to do much Sci-fi or any fantasy really and those were always the genres I loved the most growing up, being a huge Star Wars and Lord of the Rings fan as a kid. So I’m really hoping I’ll get to do some stuff like that in the future. Maybe if I really hit the gym I could be in a Marvel movie at some point… or maybe I could just play a scientist or a librarian or something. I’d be fine with that.

I think like most actors, I’d also really like to try directing at some point too!

What does the end of 2019 have in store for you?

I’ve been getting more involved in improv comedy and I’ve been working on writing my own scripts as well and I’m talking to producers right now about getting the ball rolling on one of those! There are always new things happening, but hopefully we’ll even have some announcements to make about Bunkheads. We’ll see!